Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Psst! Is that Bin Laden over there? (Part 1)

Recent "Money Laundering" legislation has been a source of amusement and stress (in equal measures) for Mine Host.

Anti-terrorism money tracking measures have brought changes to the pub trade.

If you win more than $10,000 gambling in a pub, the pub must immediately report you to "Aus-Trac" (the name would indicate a machinery dealership, however it is some sort of federal govt anti-money laundering outfit)

If the pub does not immediately report you, the consequences are serious (for the pub, the feds have lots of power).

Aus-Trac is immediately notifed of a win of $>10,000 by the relevant statutory authority. This is either the TAB if you won on the horses, or the Electronic Gaming Monitor if you won on the poker machines.

Once Aus-Trac is thus notified, the pub has a short time span (a couple of days) to lodge an accompanying paper form,
1. Confirming the win,
2. Listing the personal details of the winner, and
3. The signature and printed name of the individual who verified the ID of the winner, and
4. A copy of the ID that the winner presented.

No verifiable ID, no payment. That is the federal law. (The opposite of state law, which says winners must be paid within 24 hours, with no ID required. Federal law trumps state law, I hope)

The punters were unhappy at having to provide verifiable ID, being scared their wives would discover they won more than $10,000 in the pub. Nor do they want the Tax Office to know (gambling winnings are not taxable, but most punters prefer to err on the side of caution)

Pointing out to them that the law now says this form must be filled out, with their ID, blah blah blah, goes straight over their head. However, Mine Hosts directive: "no ID, no payment" was a concept they quickly grasped.

Mine Host is of the belief that if Bin Laden (or other nefarious types) wish to launder some money in Australia, they are unlikely to (A) turn up beyond the Black Stump to do it, and (B) put it on a horse. Betting on the gee-gees being a most unreliable financial strategy, never mind as a method of washing cash.

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